Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

90                                  LIFE  OF
tlie tropical countries., steppes, and mountain, sscmiory
lie has traversed, in a masterly manner, and $ivos a
physiognomy of plants., a deseriptioix of the formation
and effects of In<lian volcauow, &c., was literally a gift
of love to bis brother William, and was publicly dedi-
cated to Mm.
William  von Humboldt,  who remained in Home
as ambassador, to tlxe end of 1808, responded to tins
literary present of fraternal love by a poem, which he
sent from Albano to Alexander in, Paris, and whick
the latter did not publish rmtil after his brother's
death.     This   poem   bears   evident   tokens   of  the
emotions of longing and of anxiety which William must
have felt for his brother, wandering about in a foreign
world-quarter, and gives \is an insight into the happiness
which their meeting in 1305 must have caused" thorn.
It also reflects the great impression which those
"Views   of Nature/*   these grand descriptions of  a
foreign, world, must have made on, "William von Hxmi-
boldt, especially as he had already enjoyed the verbal
description   of   the   same subject,    * In   thin   poem.,
William.,  after reading the book dedicated to him,
transposes  himself into  the   same wild   and  grand
natures in the midst of that undeveloped higher life,
but describes also the self-consciousness and the hopes
of this new world.    He compares its poverty and its
grandeur with the old worldócompares the J?ela$ginns
and Greeks to the Ameficaii Indians, and reveals the
great laws of historical  existence which govern the
two worlds., as Alexander had discovered their natural
When Humboldt had returned to Paris in 1807,
he devoted himself principally to literary acti-
vity, by directing the completion and gradual
publication of the great [results of his travels But
the fruits of his journey were so coxiraulorablos BO
varied., and entering into so many spheres of science,
his studies and collections were iso exciting for further
research and comparison, that lio bad to unite with
other scholars, and allow them to complete in a